Tags:
create new tag
, view all tags
This page is a planning tool for the implementation of a server for the computer classes currently based at the Christ United Methodist Church in Easton.

<This could benefit from a rewrite, I'll make an attempt at this sometime in the next two weeks. Update: It could still benefit from a rewrite -- not sure when I'll get around to it. For now I'm concentrating on getting an email server up and running.>

Update (April 2, 2002): At this point (and for some time) TWiki works (at least partially) on the Red Hat Server. I have started building another server at home, based on Mandrake 7.2 and using a 133 Mhz Pentium, 64 MB RAM, and a 1 GB hard drive. My intent is to get the servers configured on this system, then test it at the Church. If the Red Hat server is faster, I will probably then install Mandrake 7.2 and the servers on the Red Hat server.

Aside: I've found that in order to get a prompt response to a ping of the Red Hat server I have to do something to "kick" it. Currently, I start a ping process on the Red Hat server and let it run. Don't know why this is, I don't experience anything like it on my home server using Mandrake 7.2, and, I don't want to learn too much about Red Hat wink

See also:

See AboutThesePages.

Contents:

Goal

The goal is to set up a server that can be used to expand the range of classes being offered to include how to use the Internet, specifically:

  • Surfing the web
  • Email
  • Downloading files (ftp)
  • Chat (like AOL or IRC)

Secondary Goals

Setting up the server can provide an educational experience for members of the LVLUG. For this purpose, some other servers may be set up that are not strictly necessary for the goals described above, for example, a Samba server. The set-up of any aspect of the server can be a topic and activity for an LVLUG meeting (see the #tentative_task_list). For this purpose, we can consider meeting at the church (with their permission), or take the server to another location with an overhead projector (like Productivity Point).

Major Assumptions

So, far, I have assumed that the church, for various reasons, would not want a live connection to the Internet for these classes, so the direction I'm heading in is to set up the server to provide a simulated Internet in the classroom.

Progress

See ChurchServerProjectDiary for a diary of progress.

As of 13 Jan 02:

  • TWiki works, could use some tweaking, including adding a web and modifying the templates.

As of 12 Dec 01:

  • Apache works as a server, and can be browsed from all machines as 192.168.0.2, and from most machines as www.christunited.org. (A hosts file has to be added to the other machines.)

Resource Links

See ChurchServerProjectResources for a list of links I was starting to read and other useful resources.

Introductory Stuff

Class Level, Student Background

The classes I've attended have been at an elementary level, consisting primarily of mature people, some of whom had never touched a computer before.

A More Detailed Overview

A little more detail:

  • Surfing the web: I'd like to install the Squid proxy server to allow offline web surfing from a cache of previously surfed web pages. I've done some research into using Squid this way and I believe it can be done -- see SquidForOfflineBrowsing.
  • Email: I'd like to set up a complete local mail server, including whatever we need from among postfix, procmail, and pop, smtp, and imap servers to allow sending email between workstations, with pre-configured addresses of the form user01@churchPLEASENOSPAM.school (or something similar) so that new accounts do not have to be set up for each new class. In addition, I'd also like to set up whatever we need to connect to an ISP, for my own learning.
  • Downloading files: I think we can preload the squid cache with some files to be donwloaded via ftp.
  • IRC or AOL chat: I've never used AOL, ICQ, and so forth, so I don't know if IRC is the same thing, but I assume we can find something to give some sort of experience with online chatting within the classroom. (Maybe these would be useful? licq, ICQ2000b)

Other:

  • I'd like to install TWiki (and teach novices how to use TWiki). TWiki requires Apache (or some other web server). TWiki might eventually be used to create and maintain class notes, possibly on a collaborative basis.
  • Installing Samba would be an educational project for interested members of the LVLUG. The computer (workstations) in the room are already networked together using NetBeui for sharing printers.

Server Hardware

Stuart Boreen has donated a server.

It includes:

  • Pentium Pro 180
  • 1.2gig ide drive
  • 2 UW SCSI 9gb drives
  • sound
  • tnt 16mg graphics (Riva)
  • 128Mb ram
  • Intel pro 100 ethernet

I would consider disabling the RAID and depowering one hard drive to be reserved as a future spare, ideally with an up-to-date backup image on it (of the base software, after all servers are configured).

Server OS

Stuart Boreen reinstalled RedHat 7.2 before donating the server.

More Discussion on each Goal

Surfing the web

Squid

  • Surfing the web: I'm thinking about installing the Squid proxy server to allow offline web surfing from a cache of previously surfed web pages. I've dones some research into using Squid this way and I believe it can be done -- see SquidForOfflineBrowsing.

I've learned a little about Squid -- among other things:

  • Squid and Apache are apparently independent -- AFAICT (from reading various mail list postings), we could install Squid without Apache and allow people to surf the net. Thus, we can install Apache and activate it without precluding the future installation of Squid. (I suspect we may have to modify things like the httpd.conf file to avoid overlap of domain names, ehh, but maybe not.)

  • We should be able to do what I envision using Squid. (That is, surf online to collect web pages, and then switch to an offline mode during class hours and allow the class to surf the pages collected during the online mode.) There is an offline_mode option in the squid.conf file. Based on my reading, I suspect Squid will also work for offline simulation of ftp downloads. See SquidForOfflineBrowsing.

Alternative to Squid: WWWoffle

Hmm, just came across WWWoffle -- worth a further look, it appears to be an alternative to Squid, but I have a hunch it may be simpler to deal with because it seems to be specifically designed to deal with browsing on a dial up line that is sometimes connected and sometimes not.

TWiki

  • I'd like to install TWiki (and teach novices how to use TWiki). TWiki requires Apache (or some other web server). TWiki might eventually be used to create and maintain class notes, possibly on a collaborative basis.

Email

  • Email: I'd like to set up a complete local mail server, including whatever we need from among postfix, procmail, and pop, smtp, and imap servers to allow sending email between workstations, with pre-configured addresses of the form user1@churchPLEASENOSPAM.school (or something similar) so that new accounts do not have to be set up for each new class. In addition, I'd also like to set up whatever we need to connect to an ISP, for my own learning.

Downloading files (ftp)

  • Downloading files: I think we can preload the squid cache with some files to be donwloaded via ftp.

Chat (like AOL or IRC)

  • IRC or AOL chat: I've never used some of the things like AOL, ICQ, and so forth, so I don't know if an IRC server is the same thing, but I assume we can find something to give sort of experience with online chatting (within the classroom). (Maybe these would be useful? licq, ICQ2000b)

Samba

  • Installing Samba should be educational (for members of the LVLUG) -- the computer (workstations) in the room are already networked together using NetBeui for sharing printers.

If we go to change this (it is not necessary), we would want to keep the old functionality of sharing printers installed on selected workstations, although we could install one or all of the printers on the Linux server, with additional hardware. My impression is there are about three printers installed at this point.

Task List and Progress

Some tasks need to be done in a specific order, some can be done at anytime (or in parallel with other tasks). I will try to include notes to indicate the sequencing requirements for each task.

  • (Not done, I may attempt later or I may just backup the configured server software to the IDE drive, in accordance with Stu's note below): Reconfigure the SCSI hard drives on the server so that one is in service and one is available as a backup. Use ctrl-a at bootup to switch one drive on and off -- on to create a backup image on that drive, off otherwise, until we need the backup drive.

Stu: (deleted portions incorporated above): I set the unit up as RAID-0 so it would be faster. These are old, slower drives. There isn't a whole lot on the system besides what you get from the redhat disk. The contents of the ftp server, squid,apache,ftp and email servers could be backed up to the IDE drive. 1.2 gigs should be enough. <?blockquote>

  • (Samba set up on the server on 20011206. Workstations converted to TCP/IP on 20011208 -- some using the Windows setup disk, some via the cab files. Addresses in a block starting with 192.168.0.10 for workstation A.) Reconfigure the existing workstations and attached printers to use TCP/IP instead of NetBeui but maintain the same printer (and file) sharing capability.

Note: Re above: When I first marked the task optional, I did it on the basis that we don't need Samba, we can continue to do printer sharing via the currently set up Microsoft "peer-to-peer" networking (set up on NetBeui). The task is still optional, but I am now beginning to understand that Samba works only with TCP/IP, not NetBeui (not totally confirmed yet). Assuming this is the case, and we want to set up Samba, we will have to add TCP/IP to the existing network. (This has been done, and, in addition, NetBeui has been deleted from the network.)

Aside: For a little while last night I thought that Samba was working over NetBeui as we could see Stu's laptop from the workstations. He indicated that his laptop was probably using NetBeui along with TCP/IP.

I think the following tasks can be done in any order. Possibly some interested person(s) will tackle one at a time.

  • (20011206: Squid is installed and running, but not configured to work as an off line cache -- possibly not configured at all.) Install squid and set it up as described elsewhere for online surfing to collect web pages and offline surfing during class.

  • (20011206: Done) Install apache, and make it work for any purpose.

  • (20011206: We could use Bind (I think it's a DNS) or set the server hostname and IP address in each workstation's hosts file to allow surfing to www.christunited.org -- so far (20011208), the hosts file approach is not working. 20011212 Update: The hosts file approach is working, need to do on a few more machines.) Determine, based on everything listed here, do we need Bind? (Dhcpd provides an ip to each workstation at startup so Samba will work fine. (Samba works fine in test to laptop, should work fine to workstations after workstation conversion to TCP/IP.))

  • (20020113 -- TWiki installed, needs tweaking.) (20011206 -- I have a disk at the church with the latest version of TWiki (20011201). 2001212 Update: Partially installed, but first test does not work -- need to check file permissions on next visit (and confirm the identity of the Twiki user -- it should be defined in the httpd.conf file.) Install TWiki (possibly as a class notes tool), either the latest version to be released 12/01/01, or the 03/15/01 beta version (which I have successfully installed and use). (There are significant differences which makes an upgrade from one to the other not as straighforward as I'd like.)

  • (20011206: Already done on the workstations we tested, thus presumably all.) Install (or configure) web browsers (IE?) on each work station.

  • Develop a plan to make a local mail server (without, generally, the capability to send or receive mail on the Internet). I'd like to implement Postfix in preference to Sendmail, but, in any case, I suspect we must also install some other things like procmail, fetchmail (not required unless we retrieve mail from an ISP, but I'd like to install it (and maybe some other things for the learning experience), and pop3, smtp, and imap servers. (Is Postfix (Sendmail) an smtp server?)

  • After developing the plan for a local mail server, break it down into tasks.

  • Install (or configure) an email client on each work station, set up for a specific email account for each workstation (e.g., user01@churchPLEASENOSPAM.school?).

  • Develop a plan to make a server for a local chat thingie (like IRC, ICQ, AOL chat (possible??)).
Stu: AOL and MSN and ICQ are all proprietary. I think the only way we could do chat is IRC which is not a newbie skill. I think the only way for everyone to do AOL is to really be connected on the internet.

  • After developing the plan, break it down into tasks.

  • Install (and configure) chat software on each workstation. Do any clients come with Windows (95?). Are there any free clients? Which work with the chat server we install?

  • (20011206: Samba is installed and can serve as a file and print server, but, AFAIK, only after converting the workstations to TCP/IP. Stuart set up a shared /C drive on the server.) Install Samba (or develop a plan to install Samba?). Samba is a potentially large topic -- we could do as little as printer (and file) sharing, or try to implement some of the more advanced features related to common logins on multiple servers, etc. I see installing Samba as more of a learning experience for interested members of the LVLUG than a requirement to support the computer classes, thus we can decide what is beneficial to us to install.

Stu: (deleted portions incoporated above) If the printers are supported in Linux (i.e. not winprinters) one could be put on the Linux box. Any other could be on a Win Box and "shared" no problem. All the samba stuff is made very easy because we are an isolated network. There is no need for passwords or encryption and we aren't dealing with WinNT or 2000.

Contributors

  • RandyKramer - 16 Nov 2001
  • StuartBoreen - 29 Nov 2001
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line. If you add comments, I will add your name as a contributor when I refactor the page (unless you do it when you add your comment, which is fine).>

Comments

Put your comments here, or within the text above, but mark them somehow and include your name, for the time being. I will refactor the page(s) occasionally and incorporate comments (or explain why I didn't), and add the names of all commentors as contributors. [This is a sample comment within the body of the document. You can also make the text appear in italic, bold, or both, if you wish. -- RandyKramer - 26 Nov 2001]

The following is a sample comment at the end of the document:


This is a sample comment at the end of a document. Please register at TWikiRegistration in order to edit (comment) this page. After you've registered, click edit -- I think editing will be fairly self-explanatory. Your name and the date will appear below the textarea edit box to allow you to easily copy and paste your name to the comment(s) you make.

After registering, you can add your TWiki name to the list at Wikilearn.WebNotify to get a daily email with a list of pages changed on Wikilearn. Note that the "Diff" and ">" options (on the same line as the "Edit") will allow you to view differences between versions.

-- RandyKramer - 26 Nov 2001

Edit | Attach | Watch | Print version | History: r15 < r14 < r13 < r12 < r11 | Backlinks | Raw View | Raw edit | More topic actions
Topic revision: r15 - 2003-03-24 - RandyKramer
 
  • Learn about TWiki  
  • Download TWiki
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform Powered by PerlCopyright 1999-2015 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding WikiLearn? WebBottomBar">Send feedback
See TWiki's New Look